5 Best Live Chat Plugins to Complement Your Knowledge Base

By Colin Newcomer

If you browse around our site, you’ll probably notice that we’re pretty big fans of knowledge bases. But we recognize that sometimes your customers need to talk with a real person. And that’s where live chat apps come in.

Live chat gives your customers a chance to get immediate help without you needing to hire a full-time call center. But much more importantly – live chat is also the human support channel that leads to the most satisfied customers.

Two different surveys have pegged live chat as the satisfaction leader – one from Zendesk, and another from Econsultancy.

But if you want to offer live chat to your customers, you need a tool that can get the job done. Which is why we’re going to dedicate this post to some of the best live chat services out there.

And because we make knowledge base themes and plugins for WordPress (and WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system), we’re going to make sure that you can integrate every single service with WordPress. Some are also standalone SaaS tools, though.

Here’re all of the live chat plugins and tools that we’ll be looking at in this post:

Plugin / ToolFree version?Price for ProGet It
WP Live Chat SupportYes$39.95 one-timeVisit
LiveChatNo. 30-day free trial$19 per operator per monthVisit
Zendesk ChatYes$14 per operator per monthVisit
OlarkYes$17 per operator per monthVisit
TidioYes$15 per month for 3 operators. $10 for each additionalVisit

1. WP Live Chat Support

As the name suggests, WP Live Chat Support is a WordPress-specific live chat plugin that frees you from the monthly fees charged by many SaaS live chat tools.

It’s not all good – freeing yourself from those monthly fees does get you a more limited setup – but for small businesses or solopreneurs, it’s a solid and affordable option.

Installation and Use

Once you install and activate WP Live Chat Support, your chat is up and running right away. No account creation needed.

Users can start chatting right away using a normal chat icon:

live chat plugins wp live chat support

And you can respond to your visitors directly from your WordPress dashboard. Clicking on Open Chat opens a popup where you can chat:

While it’s nice that the live chat is right inside your dashboard – the downside is that you’ll need to always have your WordPress dashboard open to receive chats. There aren’t any desktop or mobile apps in the free version, though there is a premium extension that offers that functionality for only ~$30.

If you’d like, you can further dig into the plugin’s settings to configure styling, required information, and lots more functionality:

Features and Pricing

Free VersionPro Version
Cost$0$9.99/month or $39.95 one off
Chat Restrictions?UnlimitedUnlimited
Agent Restrictions?UnlimitedUnlimited
Design ControlBasic customizationsComplete customizations
AdministrationWordPress DashboardDashboard + Mobile/Desktop App Extension for $29.95
Conversation HistoryUnlimitedUnlimited
AnalyticsNoneChat ratings + stats about agents + more
Notable IntegrationsNoneZapier
Reviews4.6-star average at WordPress.org

Pros and Cons of WP Live Chat Support

  • Pros:
    • No monthly fees – just an affordable one-time payment
    • You can have unlimited active agents without paying any more
    • It’s easy to translate
    • No third-party connection – everything happens on your server and you’re in full control
  • Cons:
    • Need the Pro version to remove branding
    • Interface doesn’t feel as polished as the SaaS options
    • Lacks as many direct integrations as other services (but does have Zapier extension for some flexibility)

Get WP Live Chat Support for Free

2. LiveChat

LiveChat is a standalone SaaS live chat service. But it also includes a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to integrate the two.

LiveChat is the most expensive option on this list but backs that price up with a gorgeous interface, plenty of productivity tools, and heaps of helpful integrations.

Installation and Use

Most of LiveChat’s functionality is contained at LiveChat’s website and associated desktop and mobile apps.

That’s where you’ll sign up for your account, manage your settings, and respond to chats.

To sync up with WordPress, you can use LiveChat’s dedicated WordPress plugin. The plugin is lightweight – literally all you do is sign in to your LiveChat account – then everything else happens in the LiveChat interface:

Once you sync WordPress to LiveChat, your visitors can start chatting right away:

And you’ll be able to respond to chats from LiveChat’s web interface:

What’s nice about the web interface is how easy it is to switch between chats, especially when compared to WP Live Chat Support.

If you’d like to customize how your live chat window functions, you can go to the settings page inside LiveChat:

LiveChat will automatically push any changes that you make to your site.

Features and Pricing

CostStarts at $19 per active agent per month, billed month-to-month
Chat Restrictions?Unlimited (but can set your own limits)
Agent Restrictions?Unlimited, pricing restrictions only apply to agents logged in at the same time.
Design ControlLimited on cheapest plan, detailed on others
AdministrationLiveChat website + desktop and mobile apps
Conversation History60-day on cheapest plan, unlimited on others
AnalyticsYes, but depth depends on specific plan
Notable IntegrationsHuge list of integrations. HubSpot, SalesForce, Woopra + lots, lots more
Reviews5-star average at WordPress.org (small sample size)

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
    • The chat interfaces are incredibly well-designed
    • A huge number of integrations, which is great if you’re using other tools
    • Productivity tools like chat transfers, canned responses, file uploads, and more.
    • You can create tickets for tasks that couldn’t be solved during the live chat
  • Cons:
    • It’s expensive, especially if you need to have multiple active agents at the same time
    • Some features are locked behind higher tier plans, which makes the already high price even higher

Get LiveChat

3. Zendesk Chat

Formerly known as Zopim, Zendesk Chat is a standalone service that exclusively handles live chat functionality. It includes an extremely limited free plan, as well as more robust paid plans for those who need more flexibility.

Installation and Use

Like LiveChat, you’ll need to create a Zendesk Chat account before you can get started. Then, you can quickly sync it up to your WordPress site using the dedicated Zendesk Chat plugin.

Once you sync the two, your live chat is ready to go. Users can start chatting right away, though the default live chat widget isn’t especially attractive:

To respond to chats, you’ll use Zendesk Chat’s site (currently still housed at Zopim.com):

You can switch back and forth between multiple chats by using the tabs at the bottom.

And to further customize your chat box and other settings, you can dig into the detailed Settings options in Zendesk Chat’s interface:

Features and Pricing

Free VersionPro Version
Cost$0Starts at $14 per active agent per month, billed month-to-month
Chat Restrictions?1 concurrent chatUnlimited
Agent Restrictions?1 agentUnlimited
Design ControlBasic customizationsAdvanced customizations
AdministrationWeb, Android, and iOS AppsWeb, Android, and iOS Apps
Conversation History14 daysUnlimited
AnalyticsNoneAgent, chat, conversion + more
Notable IntegrationsSalesforce and Jira
Reviews4.2-star average at WordPress.org

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Pros:
    • Has a free plan, albeit severely limited
    • Automatic chat translation, powered by Google Translate
    • Transfer chats between agents or departments on paid plans
    • Automatic chat routing on paid plans
  • Cons:
    • Interface feels dated when compared to something like LiveChat
    • Chat forms look similarly dated
    • Still fairly pricey, though cheaper than LiveChat

Get Zendesk Chat

4. Olark

Olark is another standalone live chat SaaS tool that integrates easily with WordPress. It’s highly translatable, includes heaps of helpful integrations, and its pricing sits right between LiveChat and Zendesk Chat.

Installation and Use

Like the other SaaS live chats, you’ll need to sign up for an account at Olark to get started. Then, you can use the dedicated WordPress plugin to add Olark to your site. All you need to do is paste in your Olark Site ID, as well as configure a few options:

And then your chat is live! Users can start chatting right away:

You can chat with visitors in Olark’s dedicated chat interface.

What’s nice is that the chat interface gives you a quick summary of what’s happening right at the top:

To change up your chat box’s looks and functionality, as well as plenty of other options, you can head to your Olark dashboard and go to Settings:

Features and Pricing

Free VersionPro Version
Cost$0Starts at $17 per active agent per month, billed month-to-month
Chat Restrictions?20 total chats per monthUnlimited
Agent Restrictions?1 agentUnlimited
Design ControlBasic customizationsAdvanced customizations
AdministrationWeb Chat App + 3rd-party integrations with mobile and desktop appsWeb Chat App + 3rd-party integrations with mobile and desktop apps
Conversation HistoryNoneUnlimited
AnalyticsNoneProductivity, responsiveness, customer satisfaction
Notable IntegrationsNone in free versionTons of CRM, eCommerce, and helpdesk integrations.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
    • Neat shopping cart saver feature that lets chat agents see what shoppers have in their carts – nice for eCommerce stores
    • Huge list of potential integrations
    • No tiers for paid plans – you get all the features no matter what
    • Easy to translate into different languages
  • Cons:
    • Almost as expensive as LiveChat
    • Analytics aren’t quite as detailed as the other two SaaS options

Get Olark

5. Tidio Live Chat

Tidio Live Chat might seem like just another live chat SaaS…but it actually has a pretty compelling unique selling proposition:

Your account is 100% free for up to 3 operators. No chat limits. Just pure free.

It also goes beyond just live chat (if you want it to). You can also set up emails as well as marketing automation using the same tool.

Installation and Use

Tidio makes it incredibly easy to get started. You don’t even need to create an account before launching your live chat.

You can get started in just a few seconds by hitting the Integrate with your site button after activating the plugin:

And just like that, your visitors can start chatting in the quite minimalist chat window:

On the other end, you can respond to users from the Tidio web interface:

If you’re not a fan of the minimalist chat that ships with the default chat window, Tidio does also offer a more traditional looking chat interface.

Features and Pricing

Free VersionPro Version
Cost$0Starts at $15 per month. Different plans for different features
Chat Restrictions?UnlimitedUnlimited
Agent Restrictions?Up to 3 active operatorsUnlimited
Design ControlStyle, color and moreStyle, color and more
AdministrationWeb Chat App + iOS, Android, and Windows appsWeb Chat App + iOS, Android, and Windows apps
Conversation HistoryUnlimitedUnlimited
AnalyticsYes, by chat and operatorYes, by chat and operator
Notable IntegrationsSolid list of CRMs, eCommerce platforms, and helpdesksSolid list of CRMs, eCommerce platforms, and helpdesks
Reviews4.9-star rating at WordPress.org

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
    • Has a generous free plan – 3 agents + unlimited chats
    • More than just live chat if you want it to be
    • Paid plans are still affordable
    • Plenty of helpful integrations
  • Cons:
    • If all you want is live chat, you might not appreciate the extra features. They just clutter up the interface
    • Viewing chat history isn’t very user friendly
    • Analytics are solid, but other tools have deeper analytics

Get Tidio Live Chat WordPress Plugin


Which Live Chat Plugin Should You Choose?

As is usually the case with these decisions, there’s not one answer that fits every single situation.

Your perfect tool is going to depend on your objective(s), budget, and the size of your team. If you’re just looking for a lightweight method to engage with your customers, you probably don’t need to shell out for a monthly fee.

But those who are seriously into integrations, productivity features, and more, might want to just splash for one of the pricier SaaS options.

Take a minute to think about factors like:

  • Do I just want a lightweight pre-sales chat? Or will I be running full support via live chat?
  • How important are analytics? Will I actually use them to improve my processes or will they just be a waste?
  • How much money am I willing to spend on a live chat plugin?
  • How many active agents will I have at one time?

While the answers to those questions should guide your specific decision, here are our general suggestions:

For a Freelancer or Solopreneur

You’ll probably be best served by going with one of the free or one-time fee plugins like WP Live Chat Support or Tidio. You likely don’t need the detailed analytics and productivity features from the more heavy-duty tools, so spending money on them every month is a waste for most freelancers.

For Small Businesses

You’re kind of sitting right in the middle. If you’re only going to have one active operator, most of the SaaS tools will still offer good value for the money. But you could also cut costs by opting for WP Live Chat Support or Tidio.

For Larger Businesses

The analytics, consistency, and productivity features offered by LiveChat make it your best option. Olark and Zendesk chat are still certainly viable options, but LiveChat has the best overall experience (though it also has the highest price tag).

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